Canadian winter – feeling the cold….

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April 14, 2013 by lucychlin

Toronto in winter

Toronto in winter

Question: A girl from Sydney, Australia moves to Toronto, Canada and experiences her first Canadian winter, does she survive?

Answer: Just.

Only kidding, of course I have survived! But the cold here is sure brutal!

I moved to Toronto in mid-August 2012, and caught the tail end of the summer, which was great with frequent +30 degree days. Fast forward to a few months later, the temperature starts and continues to drop all winter long. Then snow appeared and I believed, I had squealed in excitement! 🙂  Just as I was running out of layers to wear – the “Black Friday” Thanksgiving sales in November had big price reductions and I left work early in search of “goose-down” clothing (ie, fit for Artic-like conditions). Luckily, I was able to locate snow-proof, water-proof boots, jacket, gloves, hat and of course a fur-lined (and fashionable) hood. Winter – I’m ready for you I had thought!

But not quite, it turned out this winter would be one of the coldest and longest winters in the past few years. Whenever there were snowstorms, the city would get about 30cms of snow, and even in mid-April now – we are still receiving ice pellets and freezing rain conditions – can someone please tell Mother Nature that it’s supposed to be spring already?

Having so much snow and ice makes it certainly very dangerous to drive. From a person who drives on the left-hand side of the road – there was no way that I would learn to drive on the other side with black ice (ice on the road that you can’t see and can cause cars to slide – very scary!) and in winter too. One thing that they do here is to lay salt on the ground that will dissolve the snow and ice. Surely this is terrible for cars?

Another thing about winter here is that it is a legal requirement for every household to shovel the public walkways in front of their houses. In fact, there is a fine if snow is not shovelled, and you will be liable if there is an accident from a negligence point of view.

Finally, when I imagine Canada in winter, I conjure up images of happy, friendly faces and large amounts of snow, but in reality, most Canadians that I have met hate the snow and complain about the amount of time it takes to shovel their cars out of the snow and the hard work to shovel their driveways. As it’s only my first winter in Canada – I still have the novelty excitement, but just give me time and next time, perhaps I too, wouldn’t be as excited or forgiving about the cold Canadian winter.

My tips to combat the Canadian winter:

  • Hydro and internal heating is an absolute must and God-send; I’m not sure why Sydney doesn’t have this?
  • Right clothing: goose-down all the way!
  • Layering up: you will look less bulky and puffy and this will also allow you to remove layers when indoors as well.
  • Join a ski club to make the weekends go faster: with the slopes less than 2 hours away, you will also get to improve your ski and snowboard skills as well!
  • If all fails, become a “snowbird” and flock to the warm south on a sun holiday in the Caribbean’s or Mexico/Florida. In fact, make this a priority booking every winter! 🙂

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